A beginner's lame questions

moonlight74February 18, 2009

I accidentally posted this in the veg gardening forum, when I meant to post it here.

When we used to garden in Canada everything was planted as a seed (except) potatoes right in the garden. Course we couldn't do this til the end of May or early June.

Anyways, I'm very unfamiliar with starting plants from seeds indoors. Do I need to do this to have a successful garden? Unfortunately I do not have a very bright house.

or Can I just plant the seeds in the garden like I used to. I know I can do this with carrots, etc. Plants like tomatoes, I'll get from the nursery.

Also....has anyone grown spaghetti squash with success here?

Thanks again for all your help!


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I will let theones with more knowledge, fill you in on more of the tried and true things that work for them.
Since I have not had a full garden in many years. An as I have stated before was mostly a glorified helper then. I am going by what a lot of people have told me when I asked questions last fall.
But I also an trying growing most from seed. Since i do not have a place to set up lights. I am trying some in the ground an a few in doors. But mostly I am going to try winter sowing a lot of my things.
There is a forum here on the GW for winter sowing.
So I guess I will be experimenting to see what works best for me. : )
Good luck. I'm sure some one else will chime in soon and you will have a lot of information to use.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 4:37PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I am a flower gardener, but at some point I have planted lettuce, collards, cilantro, radishes, squash, cucumbers, okra, corn, beans, peas (not successfully), directly in the ground. When I did plant broccoli and cabbage I usually bought little plants just to get an early start. Some flowers seeds are very expensive and the size of dust; it is best to sow them in seed starter mix or potting mix just to protect your investment. Some on this forum like to plant all sorts of different tomatoes or other vegetables. They must order these seeds and may start some indoors to get an early start. It goes from spring to summer here quickly. We usually have hot dry weather in July and August. We also very often warm up like spring is here and then drop back to cold winter weather. I think in Canada you would not have such erratic weather in spring and your summers may get to a warm temp in the middle of the day, but not like our extremes. You will need to water in summer and you will need to protect tender things until some time in May. I am in southern MO but I live in a valley. If Joplin is getting a low of 38 degrees F, I may get frost. I often plant things and then have to cover them when a cold night threatens. If you could grow a garden in Canada, you can grow one here. I think hybrid tomatoes are easier to grow because of the disease resistance they breed into them, but you can get heirloom tomato seeds for postage on the winter sowing forum and Okiedawn on the Oklahoma forum was also sending tomato seeds for postage and a bubble envelope. I keep pushing this because I can't believe the seeds I got. Some gardeners are very bad about trying to get others hooked. The worst of the bunch are these people with their descriptions of their yummy tomatoes.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:55PM
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I grew spaghetti squash several years ago. It was a fun and interesting experiment. I even cooked and served it with spaghetti sauce, but it does not taste like spaghetti.

Concerning planting from seed, tell us what you are wanting to plant. Generally, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant are better planted as plants than from seed. You will see all kind of veggies raised as plants in the stores that really do better seed sown. Okra, squash and cucs come to mind. If you want to grow sugarsnap peas or broccoli it really is best to start your own plants although sometimes you can buy broccoli that will do fairly well. Sugarsnap peas need warmth to germinate. I wasted a lot of seed for years sowing them direct. Now I germinate them inside and grow them in peat pots for 2 weeks before setting them into the ground. The other advantage to doing this is that the peat pots give them some protection from the pesky critters--gophers or voles or blackbirds--that eat the seeds.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:44PM
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That's interesting to know about the sugar snap peas. I always just sow mine directly about side sometime in April. I haven't bought seeds yet but think I will try the peat pot idea.

Here is what I raise from seeds sown directly in the garden at the proper time. I plant a little later than some because I don't like to dash out and cover things and I sure don't want to waste the seeds or my labor.

Lettuce, radishes, spinach, beets, pole beans (don't do bush beans anymore), corn, squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, watermelon.

Seed started inside under plant lights: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage and broccoli, onion (day-length neutral ones Candy and SuperStar), some flowers to get a jump on blooming: Snaps, vinca, melampodium,. I also raise some perennials from seeds because it is so much cheaper to get lots of plants: foxgloves, lavender, delphiniums (before I gave up growing them!) whatever Park Seed catalog listed as coming true from seed...I tried.

Here are some annuals or tender perennials that I raised from seed and now just let them self seed: salvia farinacea, salvia splendens, petunias (the old-fashioned kind), some zinnias do self seed but mostly I sow these direct when the weather is warm by May 10, cleome, some rudbeckias, poppy somniferum and larkspur.

If you have questions about a particular plant just let us know and we will try to help.

Here is a link to a website maintained by a Master Gardener of the Springfield area. It has tons of very helpful information for us.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening in the Ozarks

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:12AM
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pauln(z7B Arkansas)

Kelli, the main difference between the two locations is our cool seasons are very very short. It seems like Spring and Fall last a few hours. This will affect the cabbage family and root veggies mostly. Before you know it, they'll try and bolt and be done. For these things, you may be better off with plants, at least for this year. On the up side, our summers last F O R E V E R. This is a good thing if you're raising tomatoes, peppers, okra, and you can get a couple of crops of squashes and beans in if you stagger the plantings. You will also find out that many varieties of tomatoes are much better adapted to hot humid summers than those up north, and the opposite is also true.

As to seed starting: I start tomatoes, peppers, and herbs indoors about 2 months before time to set them out. I like to grow varieties that the big box stores won't carry, so it's kind of a hobby for me. My ideas germinated from the seed starting forum on this site.

For about $100 total, I bought plastic shelves from Home Depot, making sure that the surface has grates, so I can hook my chains to them. (More on that later.) These shelves snap together about 5 high like tinkertoys. Next, I bought a couple of flourescent shop lamps (2' long), and each lamp has 2 grow bulbs in them. These were wired for direct current, so the guy at the store had to show me how to rig them for a power cord. These lamps are suspended from small chains, which allow the light to be directly over the plants. The chains hook on to the shelf grates with "S" hooks. This is important, so the tiny seedlings don't get all leggy struggling toward the light. As they grow, I raise the lights up with the chains. Come to think of it, the total cost was more like $150, but this should last for years.

Walmart and Home Depot sell grow trays with compressed peat pots. Each tray has 72 cells. I soak the pots in warm water, and watch them grow. Now you can plant. I use popsickle sticks (from a craft store) and mark each pot with a code (sharpie pen works well). This code will tell me which variety is which. The trays have a clear greenhouse top to hold in moisture for a while.

I have my lights connected together and on a lamp timer. I try to give the seedlings about 14 - 18 hours of light a day. When they start putting out true leaves (not seed leaves or cotyledons) I spray them with a weak tea of stinky fish emulsion. It's amazing that the cats don't mess with this!

When the plants get bigger, and the weather warms up, you can either re-pot them into a 4" pot or directly into the ground. It is best to ween them into direct sunlight before setting them into full light. I set the plants out on my back stoop which gets good morning light, then afternoon shade. After a few days of this, you're ready to plant.

I just started 4 flats this week. Mostly heirloom tomatoes with some chili peppers and herbs also. I guess I planted about 20 varieties of maders. Most of these will be given away to friends and family, and the rest will go to the Ghetto Garden that I share with some friends. One of these days, I'll figure out which tomatoes I like best, and which ones work best for me. With so many varieties, it may take a while!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Where are you located? There is a free Seed Starting class being held from 12:30 - 2:00 Saturday, March 7 at the The Library Center on S Campbell in Springfield.

It's one class available out of several topics of the
Gardening Intensive
Friday 5:00 PM-9:00 PM & Saturday 9:00 AM-3:00 PM
Call Shelley to register 417-576-0473

You'll learn more than you realized there was to know about seed starting including the following regarding peas. I don't recommend peat pots. Actually, I don't recommend peat pots for any seed starting for multiple reasons. The most common problems with direct sowing peas into your garden is that they rot quickly in a damp, spring ground, or they get eaten by any number of "wildlife"

If you can find a long container and make sure it had drainage holes, such as an old gutter, this works really well for starting peas:

Library Center
4653 S. Campbell
Springfield MO 65810

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Boy you guys are helpful! I live just outside of springfield in Republic, so I think I will go to that class.

Since this is my first year and I'm gardening from scratch, I may just buy the plants that are not directly seeded.

Who knows, the class may talk me out of it...lol


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 5:57PM
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When I started things from seeds, it was always because I learned about wintersowing ...You should check out that forum...what a great way to pass the winter!!!...and I found that it really did give you a a head start on the growing season because a lot of the plants that self-sowed afterwards found their "natural" rhythum and I had to wait longer in the year for some of them to come along (at least that was what I observed) .... If I didn't winter sow them them, then I bought them as seedlings.... but that's mostly because I'm still learning...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 5:12AM
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They'll be covering winter sowing at the seed starting class mentioned above.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:29AM
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Did you make it to the classes moonlight74?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 10:32PM
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Ugh...I did not. My parents were up visiting from Mexico and I just couldn't make it.

violet- I posted a question for you on my other thread about being frustrated with pinetree about heirloom seeds vs hybrid.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:02PM
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